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Minimum Wage

Learn more about a POSSIBLE increase to minimum wage.

Minimum Wage

With the California $18 Minimum Wage Initiative officially on the ballot for November 5, 2024, the County of Marin is pausing work on any local Minimum Wage Ordinance until the outcome of the vote in November in know.

County of Marin Minimum Wage

The Marin County Board of Supervisors considered pursuing the implementation of an $18/hour minimum wage starting January 1, 2025.  That effort has been paused given a statewide $18 Minimum Wage Initiative is now officially on the ballot for November 5, 2024.

While the County will not advance a local minimum wage ordinance at this time, the following may be helpful to those interested in understanding issues related to minimum wage at the state and local levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Marin consistently ranks as one of the most inequitable counties in the state across a variety of indicators, including wages. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, as of February 2024, the living wage for a single adult Marin resident with no children is $32.19/hour. This jumps to $53.59/hour for a 2-adult household with 1 child and 1 adult working. Assuming a full time, 40-hour work week, this equates to a gross of $66,955.20/year for a single adult, and $111,467.20 for a 2 adult, 1 child household. 

As of January 2024, it was estimated that approximately 33% of Marin County households earn less than $100,000/year, with 25% of households earning less than $75,000/year. Increasing the minimum wage to $18/hour is a small step in providing Marin’s workforce with greater economic stability while increasing consumer spending for the economy on the whole.

Low wage workers in Marin County are disproportionally represented by communities of color. Of those affected, approximately 55% are people of color. Additionally, approximately 50% of affected workers are aged 25-54, with approximately 30% aged 16-24, and 20% 55 and older (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; U.S. Census Bureau; academic research).

It is anticipated that the County’s minimum wage would apply to employees (workers) who work at least two (2) hours per week within the geographic boundaries of the unincorporated county (meaning any area in Marin that is not within the city limits of any of the 11 incorporated cities and towns) regardless of where the employer is based. Time spent in the county solely for the purpose of traveling through it is exempt. 
(A week is defined as a period of 7 consecutive days starting on Sunday) 

It is anticipated that Marin County would implement a minimum wage adjustment annually on January 1 using, at minimum, the average between July 1-June 30 of the previous year of the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) for the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (or its successor index), which is published by the U.S. Department of Labor. This is similar to the state, which uses the national CPI-W. Furthermore, it is possible that the Board may elect to apply an annual adjustment slightly higher than the Bay Area CPI-W by, for example, adding an additional percentage to the index, such as CPI-W plus X% (e.g. CPI-W + 1%).

If the annual change in the CPI-W is negative, the County Minimum Wage would remain unchanged or be increased only by the additional percentage decided upon by the Board. In no event would the County Minimum Wage be decreased.

CPI stands for Consumer Price Index – there is a CPI-U and a CPI-W. 

  • CPI-U is a more general index that seeks to track retail prices as they affect all urban consumers.
  • CPI-W is a more specialized index that seeks to track retail prices as they affect urban hourly wage earners. It is a subset of the broader CPI-U group that specifically measures the monthly average change over time in the prices paid to urban wage earners and clerical workers in a given market. As such it is the CPI-W that is used for cost-of-living adjustments including Social Security benefits. 

The only action Marin County is contemplating is changing the base minimum wage to $18/hour, and modifying the method by which the minimum wage is adjusted annually. Beyond that, most employers are subject to both federal and state minimum wage laws, as well as local minimum wage laws. Per the California Department of Industrial Relations, when there are conflicting requirements in the laws, the employer must follow the stricter standard (meaning the standard that is most beneficial to the employee).

That said, state law allows for some exceptions to the minimum wage. These exceptions would also be applicable to Marin County’s minimum wage ordinance, as are all exemptions provided by law.

  • Other Government Employers and Jurisdictions: This ordinance would only apply to the jurisdictional boundaries of Marin County and would exclude employees of other jurisdictions located within the County boundaries such as federal, state, and other local governments, public school districts, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and any other such recognized governmental agency.
  • Trainees or Learners: In accordance with the California Minimum Wage Order MW-2017 - “There is an exception for learners, regardless of age, who may be paid not less than 85 percent of the minimum wage rounded to the nearest nickel during their first 160 hours of employment in occupations in which they have no previous similar or related experience.” A learner is defined as someone working in an occupation in which they have no previous similar or related experience.
  • Disabled Workers: California minimum wage laws only permits an employer to pay mentally and/or physically disabled workers, and nonprofit organizations such as sheltered workshops or rehabilitation facilities that employ disabled workers a wage rate lower than the standard minimum wage if the employer has obtained licenses to do so from the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.
  • Apprentices: The Industrial Welfare Commission may establish a subminimum wage rate that may be paid apprentices regularly indentured under the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.
  • Other Exceptions: There are a few other types of employees who are exempt from state minimum wage laws, including individuals who are the parent, spouse, or child of the employer.
  • New State Minimum Wage Laws: California recently passed higher minimum wage rates for certain fast food workers ($20) and certain healthcare workers ($21+).  Those new wage laws will take precedence over any jurisdictional local minimum wage ordinance (between a local and State minimum wage, which ever minimum wage is higher and wage that prevails). 

The state labor code authorizes the state Labor Commissioner to enforce local laws regarding overtime and minimum wage provisions and to issue citations and penalties for violations. The Labor Commissioner is also authorized to issue citations and penalties to employers who violate the expense reimbursement provisions of the state labor code. 

Yes, there is a statewide $18 minimum wage initiative scheduled to be on the November 5, 2024 ballot. More information on this initiative can be found here.

Contact Information

Questions about County of Marin's minimum wage initiative should be directed to the Economic Vitality Coordinator, Raissa de la Rosa: (415) 473-7295

All other questions or concerns may be referred to the California Labor Commissioner: (707) 576-2362 

Page updated June 28, 2024